The editor-in-chief at large of the New Crusading Guide newspaper, Abdul Malik Kweku Baako Jr, has taken a swipe at the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), accusing the party of engaging in the politics of spreading fear to create a false sense of insecurity in Ghana.
Baako was speaking as a guest on yesterday’s Asaase Breakfast Show (Friday 16 October). His comments followed allegations by the NDC general secretary, Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, that the government has given out 4,000 firearms from the state armoury to vigilante groups.
The NDC secretary alleged that the move is one of many ploys the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) is employing to disrupt the 7 December polls.
“We are aware that the government [has given out] 4,000 weapons from the state armoury to [its] vigilantes. I’m telling you, I’m not afraid … when they ask you, mention my name; they should come and ask,” he told the Accra-based Adom TV.
Kufuor, firearms, fear and loathing
Baako said individuals who make such allegations must be penalised if investigation shows that their claims are baseless.
“In 2004 there was the importation of arms by the state to train VVIP personnel, and that became a huge problem.
“The [claim was that the] former president John Agyekum Kufuor’s government had imported these arms to give to ‘party police’ in order to threaten and intimidate the citizenry,” Baako said. “Investigations showed it is not true.
“We all know that, but you don’t mix the two. We have to be very careful when these stories break and how we investigate them,” the veteran pundit said.
Baako said he believes there is a conscious effort by certain politicians to create a false sense of anxiety before the 7 December elections.
“There’s no need to rush to put out a scoop. But as for the politicians, it is not a question of a scoop: it is a question of creating unnecessary alarm.
“And these things happen especially when there is a countdown to the election,” Baako said.
“What they are doing has an element of fake news. It’s politics of scaremongering tailored to create a certain effect of insecurity in the nation.”
Speaking on the same programme, Ransford Yaw Gyampo, a political scientist with the University of Ghana at Legon, expressed anxiety about the way the security forces have handled the matter, given the sensitivity of the allegations.
He urged the security agencies to reassure Ghanaians, calm the nerves of citizens and reduce the unnecessary fear and tension.
“The point is, even if you can’t put every [piece of] information out for security reasons, people must be made aware,” he said. “We have all the facts [yet] it is not everything that we can put in the public domain. [But] I think it will calm nerves and tell people that something is being done.”
Professor Gyampo said he believes that it is often those politicians who don’t have any message to campaign on who take most willingly to the politics of fear.